Most Canadians Continue to Voice Support for an Elected Senate

Canadians continue to call for the opportunity to elect the members of the upper house, a new Angus Reid Public Opinion poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative national sample of 1,002 Canadians, 67 per cent of respondents support allowing for direct elections to the Senate.

Since 2009, at least two thirds of Canadians have consistently supported the idea of direct Senate elections.

In addition, 66 per cent of respondents would like to limit appointed senators to eight-year terms. More than a third of Canadians voice support for two other ideas: Creating a panel of distinguished Canadians to choose senators, instead of the prime minister (37%) and Abolishing the Senate of Canada altogether (36%).

Across the country, 73 per cent of respondents support holding a nationwide referendum to decide the future of the Senate of Canada, including 77 per cent of people in both British Columbia and Atlantic Canada.

Two-in-five Canadians (40%) believe Canada needs a Senate, but Canadians should be allowed to take part in the process to choose senators. This point of view is more popular in Alberta (50%).

Conversely, 37 per cent of Canadians (and 49% of Quebecers) think Canada does not need a Senate, and want all legislation to be reviewed and authorized by the House of Commons.

Three-in-five Canadians (62%, including majorities of respondents in every region except Alberta) believe Prime Minister Stephen Harper is being hypocritical because he has appointed senators despite his long-standing opposition to the Senate in its current form.

One third of respondents (32%) believe Canadians will never be allowed to directly elect their senators, while 38 per cent foresee that opportunity arriving in the next five years.

Full Report, Detailed Tables and Methodology (PDF)

Methodology: From February 11 to February 12, 2013, Angus Reid Public Opinion conducted an online survey among 1,002 randomly selected Canadian adults who are Angus Reid Forum panelists. The margin of error—which measures sampling variability—is +/- 3.1%. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and region Census data to ensure samples representative of the entire adult population of Canada. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

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